Spredfast Launches New Automation Capabilities and Chatbot Partnerships

In 2016, there were 100,000 bots on Facebook Messenger. Today, there are more than 300,000. The growth trend is clear: There’s significant momentum for automation of customer service activities on social. But how do you know where to start and which approach is right for your business?

Spredfast is here to help. Today, we’re introducing two new capabilities to help navigate the world of messaging automation: The first is Spredfast automation for interactions on Facebook & Twitter and the second is partnerships with Conversable, Pandorabots, and Reply.ai, three seasoned chatbot providers.

We’ll get into the details about our new technical capabilities and our new partners, but first, let’s look at the risks and opportunities for chatbots and walk through why they matter for your team.

Chatbots come in a myriad of formats with varying goals and objectives. For instance, Booking.com’s Messenger chatbot can discover and book a dream vacation. Most are useful, many are just for fun, and a few, unfortunately, get added to the wall of brand “fails”. A chatbot can increase service efficiencies and reduce workload by deflecting repetitive customer contact. But deflection isn’t the only thing brands should care about. As recent Forrester research points out, “Contact deflection is only one of the many benefits that a company must incorporate when creating a business case for chatbots...Chatbots have the potential to create new and compelling customer service experiences.”(Unlock The Hidden Value Of Chatbots For Your Customer Service Strategy, January 2018, Forrester).

One important task ahead is defining how to embrace automation without eliminating the humanity in social engagements. Social media removed barriers between brands and customers, allowing for real connections to take place. Chatbots have the potential to re-install barriers if not implemented correctly. Humans will continue to play an active role on these channels, while chatbots should improve the customer and agent experience.

Chatbots have the potential to re-install barriers on social media between consumers and brands, if not implemented correctly.

 

Spredfast’s role in this experience is to ensure seamless transitions from chatbots to the humans responding to customers on social, helping to rethink when and how humans interact with customers where your support channels include a chatbot.

How Spredfast Helps with Effective Handoffs

Chatbots represent a massive opportunity to aid scaling efforts and create unique experiences, but any chatbot undoubtedly disrupts the workflows of the team(s) responsible for social. For example, imagine the experience for a care agent monitoring Facebook Messenger while a chatbot is introduced. The agent suddenly sees all of the interactions the bot is having on Messenger, all at once. Without some sort of established protocol, how could this agent possibly know when a customer has reached the limits of the chatbot's capabilities or hits the proverbial "operator" button? For this reason, chatbots need an off-ramp to a human. Spredfast’s new chatbot capabilities guarantee a smooth transition, keeping an agent's queues clear of ongoing automated conversations until they are needed by the customer.

To do this on Facebook, Spredfast now supports the Facebook Handover Protocol. Facebook created a native way for platforms like Spredfast and chatbots to “handover” a customer between them. Spredfast also created new APIs for enabling the same handover on Twitter. Spredfast’s Handover Protocol for Twitter works with chatbots implemented on Direct Messages.

Chatbots can now carry on a conversation with a customer, without clogging up your Spredfast inbox until it’s clear a human is needed. These protocols also allow agents to hand customers back over to a chatbot. All Spredfast Chatbot Partners support Facebook Handover Protocols for their chatbots. The handover protocol for Twitter is available for any chatbot developer and if you’ve built your own, we can assist your bot team through set-up.

Chatbots can now carry on a conversation with a customer, without clogging up your Spredfast inbox until it’s clear a human is needed.

 

Meet the Spredfast Chatbot Partners

As you read this, you or someone in your company is probably thinking of launching a chatbot and might be asking yourself, where to begin?

We’ve partnered with three top chatbot providers to give you fantastic options for creating and managing your chatbot: Conversable, Reply.ai, and Pandorabots. Every brand will have different requirements for a chatbot, and these best-of-breed providers can build and maintain chatbots in a way that works for each brand’s unique business needs. From drag-and-drop interfaces to open standard code offerings, our partners give you options to build the right chatbot for your business.

“Through this partnership, we’re thrilled to bring our customers into the natural future state of brands’ presence on Digital,” said Clara de Soto, Co-Founder, Reply.ai. “Our bots working through Spredfast will bring the power of automation and humans working together to deliver great customer experiences, wherever they are.”

We’re just scratching the surface of what’s possible with chatbots on social channels, let alone automation as a whole. Spredfast already has customers with chatbots deployed across a range of use cases. Volume on social channels are only going to increase and in the coming months, our goal is to address this challenge with more automation capabilities.

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Austin Lytle is a Director, Product Marketing at Spredfast where he works with customers and the Spredfast product team to make sure we are delivering the world's best social software platform. Austin spent three years running political campaigns in Texas and Louisiana. A New Orleans native, he is avid cyclist and lover of music and wine.